About Us

Vestry

It is the duty of the vestry to promote the church to the existing congregation and the parish that
surrounds the church as well as the image that is portrayed by the church. 

An Episcopal Vestry

An Episcopal vestry is a group of elected parish members who oversee the church operations. The vestry assists the rector and have promotional, institutional, financial, and personnel responsibilities within the church.
 
It is the duty of the vestry to promote the church to the existing congregation and the parish that surrounds the church as well as the image that is portrayed by the church. Through this promotional program the church will be able to grow and attract new members to the congregation.   The vestry is also responsible for the maintenance of the church property and handles the financial responsibilities of the church. The members will oversee the donations and tithes as well as dispersing funds to programs ran by the church. The taxes, utilities, payroll and other financial responsibilities are also approved and paid out by the members of the episcopal vestry. Finally, the vestry members have the duty to identify individuals who can fill open positions at the church and for providing training and guidance to those individuals.

Our Senior Warden

Wendy Coles
Wendy Coles was born in Ottawa, Canada and is a life-long Anglican. After graduation from college, she moved to the US to pursue graduate studies. She holds a BA from the University of Waterloo in Social Work, a Masters in Community Leadership from Central Michigan University and a PhD from Michigan State University in Adult and Continuing Education. Upon retirement from General Motors following 25 years of service, mostly as an Internal Consultant, she ran a shelter for homeless girls in inner city Detroit. After moving to Florida, she coordinated services for people who are homeless across Monroe County, Florida.
Wendy volunteers at Fairchild Gardens, serves on the Board of Directors at Royal Palm Tennis Club and coordinates the Outreach Community at St. Thomas. While living in Key West, she served as Senior Warden and as a member of the Vestry of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Wendy is the proud grandmother of three little boys who live in northern Michigan. Wendy began worshiping at St. Thomas in 2013 with her partner Jack Brumbaugh.

Members of the Vestry

 
Shannon Hanson-Jr. Warden
Since joining St. Thomas in 2018, Shannon has become an active member of the parish. She is a member of the Outreach Committee and serves as an usher at the traditional service. Shannon donates her time to assist with the church’s social media outreach and brand awareness efforts. Shannon works as the associate director of the Center for Leadership at Florida International University. In this role, she is responsible for the development and management of new and ongoing initiatives geared towards the continuous advancement and growth of The Center. Shannon also serves as liaison for The Center’s educational leadership programs with Miami-Dade and Broward County Public Schools and The Center’s Board of Advisors. In addition to working full-time, Shannon is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at FIU in Public Affairs with a research focus in educational policy and public sector leadership. She received her Master of Business Administration in Human Resource Management in 2011 and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business from FIU.
 
Mary Lou Shad
Born in Venezuela, raised in South Miami, Mary Lou is a retired Neonatal ICU Associate Head Nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital and former Guardian ad Litem with the 11th Circuit Court. The Shads came to worship at St. Thomas after hurricane Andrew. Mary Lou has been a Sunday school teacher, member of two choirs and the Contemporary Music Group. She has been on three Cursillo teams. Mary Lou has been a leader in Stephen Ministry. She completed EFM and facilitated EFM classes for four years. She is currently a trained facilitator with DOCC. Mary Lou currently serves as clerk of the vestry and the vestry liaison for Pastoral Care. tom.lulu@att.net

 
Peter Zubizarreta-Treasurer


Susan Ponzoli-Chancellor


Ashley Brinson Cusack
I have been a member at St. Thomas most of my life. I was married at St. Thomas and my children went through elementary school here. I sat on the vestry for almost 8 years while Father Mario was our priest and am currently a board member for the school. In that role I sit on the vestry as the liaison between the board and vestry. My goal has always been to see the school and church work together as we are one. I worked on hospitality for years with the hope of helping to grow the church. I am very optimistic that now is our opportunity to bring new members in and old members back. Father Tim’s welcoming message and open spirit has us on the right track.

Charles “Charlie” Mitchell
I moved to Miami during 1986 to join the faculty of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine where I am still engaged in research related to Pediatric Infectious Diseases. Jan and I have been St. Thomas church members for over 30 years. Our daughters were baptized here by Father Tobin who also married Katie, our oldest, and Sean. Recently, he also baptized their daughter Kit, our first grandchild. St. Thomas is our home.

Colin F. Ramsay, MBA – RCC, GREEN, AHWD, CIPS, SRES, MRP
I have lived in South Florida since 1978, a graduate of Nova Southeastern University with a Masters in Business. I have thirty years plus experience in Sales, Marketing, Hospitality and Real Estate. I am a Residential/ Commercial Realtor at Coldwell Banker Realty with Specialization – GREEN Technology; At Home With Diversity; Certified International Properties Specialist; Seniors Real Estate Specialist; Military Relocation Professional. My wife Margaret Brisbane and I have been a member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church for over 25 years.

Juan Eugenio Rodríguez
Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Juan Eugenio joined the St. Thomas Choir and began to participate in the life of our community, when his partner Gene Greco became Music Director in 2017. Previously, he was a member of the church and choir at St. Faith’s in Cutler Bay and St. Phillips in Coral Gables. Juan has been very active helping to lead various initiatives to sustain and enhance the life of our parish, including leading the Virtual Coffee hour, singing and recording music for our virtual services, organizing bicycle outings and supporting various other programs such as the virtual Education Hour and Zoom Cooks.
Professionally, Juan has led various entrepreneurial and transformational initiatives in a variety of industries including IT consulting, government, healthcare, education and retail distribution. In addition, Juan serves as a Board member for two health technology companies and an NGO that promotes transparent and responsible government.
Juan holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Yale University, an MS in Materials Science and Engineering and an MBA from Stanford University.
 
Tina Lane
Tina Lane was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and moved to Miami in 1952. She became a member of St. Stephen’s parish and transferred to St. Thomas parish in 1982. Her three daughters attended St. Stephen’s School and her four granddaughters have attended St. Thomas School. Tina was part of the group that founded Trinity Episcopal School which later merged with the Palmer School to become Palmer Trinity. She was Chairman of the Palmer Trinity Board during the merger and for two years thereafter. Over the years, Tina served on the Palmer Trinity board on two separate occasions. Her current employment is President of the Dunspaugh-Dalton Foundation (providing support to non-profit charitable organizations).
 
Michael Maguire
Michael Maguire is married to Kasia with whom he has two daughters, both of whom graduated from St. Thomas Episcopal School. He has been a member of the parish since 2004 and has previously served four years on the Vestry.   He is an attorney practicing personal injury litigation with the firm of Maguire & Friend, PA.

Lawrence Wayne Brown Junior
Lawrence Brown was born in Brazil and grew up in New Jersey. He was raised Dutch Reformed (though his father’s side was Episcopalian), attended a Roman Catholic prep school, and then graduated from Villanova University (also Catholic). After college he was commissioned in the US Air Force, attaining the rank of Captain. After his military service, he attended the NYU Stern School of Business, leading to a career in finance in New York and later in Sao Paulo, where he reconnected with Luciana De Benedictis. They married in 2014 and moved to Miami when Lawrence received an offer to work for Burger King Corporation as the CFO for North America. Recently he moved to Fat Tuesday as the CFO / CDO. Lawrence and Luciana’s connection with the Episcopal Church grew when they were looking for a warm, down-to-earth place to baptize their sons, and they joined St. Philip’s. In 2020 Luciana was selected to work for St. Thomas Episcopal School as the guidance counselor, and they became members of St. Thomas Church also. Their older son attends STEPS, and next year their younger son will also.

Vivian More Cortinas
Vivian Cortinas, a native of Cuba, has lived in Miami for the last 41 years. She has a BS in electrical engineering and is vice president of Applications Shared Services for Marriott Vacations Worldwide, where she is responsible for providing services for overall IT Business Analysis, Project Management, Quality Assurance, and Release Management. At St. Thomas Church, she has served on the vestry, has co-chaired multiple church ministries, and has been a choir member, Lay Reader, and Chalice Bearer. In the Diocese, she has served on the Bishop's Council of Advice on Human Sexuality, has been a delegate to the annual Episcopal Diocesan Convention, and was co-host of an Episcopal radio show that was broadcasted live, every Saturday morning, for a year. At STEPS, Vivian has served on the Board of Trustees and was president of the STEPS Parents’ Association twice. At Palmer Trinity School, Vivian is currently a member of the Board of Trustees and part of the Advanced Gifts Committee. She also served as secretary, president-elect, and president of the Palmer Trinity Parents’ Association. She is married to Henry Cortinas and has two children.

Kevin Orgill
Kevin Orgill’s family was active at St. Thomas before Kevin was even born. Kevin was baptized and confirmed at St. Thomas, and several years ago he married Maggie at St. Thomas. He attended elementary school at STEPS and served as an acolyte at church. Kevin attended FIU, where he graduated with a double major in psychology and interdisciplinary studies. During college, Kevin was a youth leader at St. Thomas and then youth director, designing a program that included, in addition to on-campus activities, outreach locally and mission trips to other states. Locally he took the group to Chapman Partnership to serve meals and play with the children, and they organized food drives for Holy Comforter. He helped lead three mission trips during his tenure, two to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and one to rural Tennessee. Currently he is involved with the training of acolytes and with Eucharistic Ministries. Kevin teaches math at Doral Academy Charter Middle School. He is the sponsor/advisor for the school’s chapter of the National Junior Honor Society, and he has also coached middle school football.

Deborah (Debbie) Klem Pergakis
Debbie Klem Pergakis has been a member of St. Thomas for over 25 years and has served on the Altar Guild for most of that time. She and her husband Paul raised their two sons, now grown, at St. Thomas, where they were acolytes and participants in the youth programs. Debbie graduated from Indiana University and received an MA in accounting from FIU. She has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1986. Semi-retired now, she was Regional Finance Director for AECOM, a publicly traded architectural, engineering and construction firm. She had various roles over her 45 years of service (she originally started with Spillis Candela & Partners, a regional architectural/engineering firm that was acquired by AECOM in 1999). Early in her career, Debbie was a board member of the Historical Museum and of Greater Miami Executive’s Association (a networking group). Currently, she is semi-retired and working with the South Florida SPCA for large animals and the Junior Orange Bowl Tennis Tournament.